May 27, 2019 / 2:16 PM / 2 months ago

Despite video disgrace, Austrian far right's Strache gets EU seat: APA

FILE PHOTO: Austrian Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache reacts as he addresses the media in Vienna, Austria, May 18, 2019. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger/File Photo

VIENNA (Reuters) - Heinz-Christian Strache, who was forced to resign as Austrian vice chancellor and leader of the far-right Freedom Party (FPO) a week ago over a video sting, has secured a seat in the European Parliament, Austrian news agency APA reported.

Strache had remained on his party’s list for the European election, albeit in the very last spot at 42nd. Preliminary results show the party secured just three seats.

But under Austria’s electoral system voters can express a preference for one candidate on their chosen list, and if that candidate garners enough support they can secure a seat.

A partial vote count showed Strache had received more than 33,500 such direct votes, more than enough to claim a seat, APA said.

It was not immediately clear whether Strache - caught in the video sting apparently offering to fix state contracts in a meeting with a woman claiming to be the niece of a Russian oligarch - would take up a seat in the assembly.

Strache denies doing anything illegal. Prosecutors in Vienna have said they are investigating “in multiple directions” in relation to the video footage.

Reporting by Francois Murphy; Additional reporting by Michael Shields in Zurich; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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